PR No. 260 Information Minister’s Speech On Transparency In Public Sector – An Appraisal Islamabad: December 30, 2015

Excellencies, distinguished guests
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Assalam-o- Alekum,

Its indeed a matter of immense honour and pleasure for me to deliver inaugural address at the seminar convened to conduct an appraisal of Transparency in Public Sector with regards to development efforts of the government during the last two and half years and sharing my thoughts on the issue with such an illustrious gathering.

Transparency, undoubtedly is an essential ingredient of good governance whose importance can hardly be over-emphasized. During the course of the day you will be listening to the presentations by Secretaries of the ministries of Water and Power, Petroleum and Natural resources, Railways, Chairman Privatization Commission, Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and Chairman National High Authority who will dilate on the achievements of the government in their respective areas and the measures taken to ensure transparency in their transactions. We have also invited eminent personalities with impeccable integrity, expertise and vision to benefit from their independent appraisal of the efforts of the government in those particular domains of the economy. At the end of the seminar Finance Minister Ishaq Dar will also share with you the story of the turn-around of the economy and the specific measures adopted by the government to make it happen.

I am sure the seminar at the end of the day would prove to be quite informative for our distinguished guests from the diplomatic community who would be treated to an incisive look into the performance of the economy in these particular areas as well as an independent evaluation of those steps from the perspective of transparency. The seminar would also help in disseminating authentic information to the public in regards to the performance of the government and its unwavering commitment and adherence to transparency, besides affording an opportunity to the government to further strengthen the process of transparency in the light of the observations of the appraisers, by removing the infirmities pointed out by them. The PML (N) government firmly believes in transparency and good governance and therefore does not feel shy of any scrutiny or appraisal to judge its performance. The holding of the seminar on this issue by the government, in itself is a testimony to this fact. The hall mark of the efforts of the government in reviving the economy has of course been transparency. The fact that no mega-corruption scandal, unlike the past, has been reported and unearthed either by the vigilant media or the transparency monitoring agencies, is a ranting proof of commitment of the PML(N) government to do things in right direction and in transparent manner.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would prefer to leave it to the experts to further dilate on the question of transparency. However I feel that probably it would be pertinent on my part to briefly narrate the performance of the government in rejuvenating the economy and some of the success stories despite diabolical challenges inherited by it, which one way or the other also affected the economy of the country and also dilate achievements in regards to the other challenges.

Needless to emphasize that when the PML (N) formed government consequent upon winning the franchise of the people, the country was confronted with formidable challenges. The economy was in shambles; an egregious energy crisis with all the accompanying debilitating manifestations gripped the country ; the combination of terrorism and religious extremism posed existentialist threat to the integrity of the motherland; the nascent democracy was wobbling on its feet in an environment of uncertainty; security situation in the country and the region was precarious and Pakistan admittedly  was groaning under the combined impact of these unsavoury circumstances.

Undaunted by the permeating situation, the PML (N) government under the stewardship of Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif took these challenges head on with determination and dedication. It launched necessity-driven policy initiatives in line with the election manifesto of the party in all these areas. Promoting national unity and sanity in politics were the pre-requisites for the success of the foregoing undertakings. Therefore through a visionary and well-deliberated move purported to strengthen democratic norms and promoting a tolerant political culture in the country, the PML (N) showed a rare respect for the mandate of the other parties in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhawa and allowed formation of governments by the majority parties, notwithstanding the fact that on the basis of its numerical strength it could have installed of PML (N)-led governments there.

As a result of these measures and initiatives taken during the last two years the ambience of gloom has been transformed into vibrant optimism and a real, verifiable and discernible change is evident in all the spheres of the national life.

The economy is on the upward curve signifying the commencement of an era of sustained economic growth.  The foreign exchange reserves have increased, inflation has been brought down to single digit to a level of a ten-year low. Energy shortages have been overcome to a large extent and the load-shedding has been reduced to a bare minimum pursuant to the administrative and legal measures adopted by the government to check power theft and launching of new power producing projects that hold the promise of getting rid of this nagging problem within the next three years. Industrial and Agricultural policies have been reoriented towards fostering investment and tax regimes readdressed to enlarge the tax base. The National Tariff Commission has been reformed to improve industrial growth and competitiveness of domestic industry. Social security and safety nets have been strengthened to protect the vulnerable sections of the society. Visionary steps have been put in place to promote entrepreneurship in the country, especially among youth through loan and skill development schemes. The combined effect of these measures is that budget deficit which has been the bane of economic progress, is in a nose dive. The veracity and authenticity of these developments has unhesitatingly been endorsed by the international institutions like IMF, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the global ranking agencies like Moody’s Investors Service.

In the domain of foreign relations a new narrative wedded to the cause of promoting peace in the region and creating economic linkage for a shared prosperity has been evolved. Pakistan has been making strenuous efforts in promoting Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation in Afghanistan and fostering cooperation between the two countries in fighting terrorism. And despite some hic-ups along the

way there is a renewed hope of getting things back on track. The enhancement of economic relations with China under the umbrella of China-Pak Economic Corridor is another testimonial of the success of the new vision.  Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also made positive overtures towards India by attending the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Moodi and later working for the revival of the suspended dialogue between the two countries. As a result of these efforts hopes of re-starting the dialogue have been revived. Our endeavours to normalize relations with India, stem from our firm belief and the vision of the Prime Minister that peace, security and progress  in both the countries as well as in the region depended on resolution of all disputes between the two countries and the dialogue was the only feasible and preferred option.

Today the PML (N) government can also rightly boast of orchestrating unity among all the political parties and other stakeholders with respect to attaining lasting peace and stability in the country as well as in the region. The operation Zarb-e-Azb and the National Action Plan to eliminate terrorism and targeted operation in Karachi which have achieved tremendous success, are the enviable outcomes of the policy of national consensus and reconciliation, dedicatedly pursued by the government. Now after two and half years, the PML (N) government can look back with satisfaction in regards to its performance in all the areas that posed threatening challenges to the country, including economy, when the government was installed.

By the grace of Allah, today the prospects for a developed and prosperous Pakistan are much brighter than ever before. However, I have no qualms in admitting that we still have a long way to go before all the challenges inherited by our government are surmounted but I can say with an unruffled aplomb that the PML(N) government has successfully set encouraging trends in all the areas of the national life. The last two and half years of the PML (N) government have surely been instrumental to orchestrating a leap towards prosperity.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,

With these submissions I would like to end my speech and also thank you for giving a patient hearing to me.

Pakistan Paindabad (Long Live Pakistan)